This week’s movie releases

This week’s movie releases

FILM: WILD
CAST: REESE WITHERSPOON, LAURA DERN, THOMAS SADOSKI, MICHIEL HUISMAN, GABY HOFFMANN, KEVIN RANKIN, W. EARL BROWN, MO McRAE, KEENE McRAE
DIRECTOR: JEAN-MARC VALLEÉ

In ‘Wild’, director Jean-Marc Vallée (‘Dallas Buyers Club’), Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon (‘Walk The Line’) and Academy Award nominated screenwriter Nick Hornby (‘An Education’) bring bestselling author Cheryl Strayed’s extraordinary adventure to the screen. After years of reckless behavior, a heroin addiction and the destruction of her marriage, Strayed makes a rash decision.
Haunted by memories of her mother Bobbi (Academy Award nominee Laura Dern) and with absolutely no experience, she sets out to hike more than a thousand miles on the Pacific Crest Trail all on her own. ‘Wild’ reveals her terrors and pleasures –as she forges ahead on a journey that maddens, strengthens, and ultimately heals her.

Wilderness epics have been around since the beginning of cinema. But from the 1912 silent film ‘The Conquest Of The Pole’ to ‘Jeremiah Johnson’ to ‘Into The Wild’ to ‘127 Hours’, nearly all have traced the paths of men far from civilization. But the fact that ‘Wild’ takes a different, less expected direction drew a devoted group of filmmakers.
Says Witherspoon, who produced the film with her partner Bruna Papandrea: “‘Wild’ is about so many things that touch people. It’s about life, love, loss and family. It’s about how a woman who thought she was completely broken, but found a way to reconstitute herself.”

Director Vallée adds: “’Wild’ is the story of a woman who wants to change her life and decides to do it in a very drastic way by going on this hike on the PCT. It becomes quite a journey, a journey of discovering herself and facing life and asking herself all the hard questions. But it’s also a journey of redemption – that’s the thing.”
‘Wild’ began with Cheryl Strayed’s own personal story – that of a woman still reeling from the sudden loss of her inspiring mother, a wrecked marriage and a headlong dive into unabashed self-destruction who decides to put a halt to it all and takes a seemingly preposterous adventure. With zero outdoors experience, a monstrously heavy backpack and fuelled by little but her own ragged will, Strayed set out to hike the PCT, the longest, toughest and wildest through-trail in America, completely alone. Barely a few minutes into her trek, she considered quitting. But she persevered and during those few months, she found reminders of joy, courage and beauty amid the fear, exhaustion and peril. It was an adventure that helped her put her life back together again and emerge with a raw but remarkable story.

Recalls Strayed: “It was a huge physical undertaking for me to hike the PCT for 94 days, but it was also very much a spiritual journey. I turned to the trail as many people turn to the wilderness — at a time when I felt lost and desperate, when I was in a place where I didn’t know how to move forward. In many ways the trail taught me to literally just put one foot in front of the other again.”

Strayed’s story meant a lot to her personally but she couldn’t have foreseen how deeply her writing would tap into other people’s longing for a transformative experience. As soon as Wild was published in 2012 it hit the best-seller lists and drew critical raves, as much for its irreverent yet movingly candid style as for its adventurousness. The New York Times Book Review called it a “literary and human triumph” and The Boston Globe said Wild is “an addictive, gorgeous book that not only entertains, but leaves us the better for having read it.”

One person who read the book several months before it was published was Reese Witherspoon, the Academy Award winning actress and producer who was just starting up her own film company with producer Bruna Papandrea. Though streams of manuscripts were passing through her hands, Witherspoon’s reaction to ‘Wild’ was instantaneous and fervent.
“I read the first half of the book on a plane and I was just in tears,” Witherspoon recalls. “Then, I just couldn’t wait to get back to the book and I read the rest on the flight back. I said, ‘I don’t know who Cheryl Strayed is, but I need her number immediately.’”

Witherspoon called Strayed and told her how deeply she related to the memoir and how much she believed the book could touch many different lives. “I told Cheryl this is a rocket ship, so hold on – you are going to go so far with this book,” she remembers. “I found her to be every bit the spiritual and emotional person that you’d expect. She’s no nonsense, cuts through all the b.s. and just tells it like it is – the same things that people really responded to with her book.”

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Mary-Elizabeth-Winstead-andFILM: Kill The Messenger
CAST: Jeremy Renner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Ray Liotta, Tim Blake Nelson, Barry Pepper, Oliver Platt, Michael Sheen, Paz Vega, Michael Kenneth Williams, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Andy Garcia
DIRECTOR: Michael Cuesta

Two-time Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner (‘The Bourne Legacy’) leads an all-star cast in ‘Kill The Messenger’, a dramatic thriller based on the remarkable true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb. In the 1990s, this dedicated reporter’s quest for the truth took him from the prisons of California to the villages of Nicaragua to the corridors of power in Washington, D.C. – and his investigative reporting drew the kind of attention that threatened not just his career, but his family and his life.

After relocating with his family to California, Webb is a seasoned and respected reporter at the San Jose Mercury News. His career takes a startling turn when an upscale cocaine trafficker’s girlfriend, Coral Baca (Paz Vega), slips him a Grand Jury transcript which reveals a link between U.S. intelligence and Central American cocaine smuggling. Webb begins shadowing Alan Fenster (Tim Blake Nelson), the defence lawyer for Los Angeles crack kingpin “Freeway” Ricky Ross (Michael Kenneth Williams). The journalist soon realizes that he has stumbled onto a story which leads to the shady origins of cheap, seemingly limitless cocaine on the nation’s streets, all too apparent in South Central Los Angeles…

…and which further alleges that Nicaraguan rebels working directly with the CIA were smuggling cocaine into the U.S., using the profits to arm Contra militias back home. Webb makes a risky run into Nicaragua to get crucial information from imprisoned drug baron Norwin Meneses (Andy Garcia). With the backing of his paper’s editor Anna Simons (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Webb’s reportage runs in print and online as a series of articles entitled “Dark Alliance,” and executive editor Jerry Ceppos (Oliver Platt) welcomes the nationwide attention that the stories generate.
But Webb himself becomes the story and a target, as jealous rival reporters who missed the CIA-Contra-cocaine story move to discredit his work and reputation in an increasingly vicious smear campaign. His wife Sue (Rosemarie DeWitt) tries to stand by him even as, despite warnings from drug kingpins and menacing surveillance intended to deter his investigation, Webb keeps digging to prove a direct link between cocaine smugglers and the CIA, a conspiracy with explosive implications.

“Gary was like a Doberman. His scrappy, insistent way of getting at the facts, and his ardent belief in the public’s right to know the truth, was paramount to him, says director Michael Cuesta. “He was a reporter of the people, of the proletariat. He had a pure sense of what truth and justice means. He was a real guy that liked punk bands and hockey. He was not afraid to go toe-to-toe with the bigwigs. We need guys like this, especially in today’s labyrinth of media noise and reckless political media punditry.”

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A-scene-from-Hear-Me-MoveFILM: HEAR ME MOVE
CAST: Nyaniso Dzedze, Bontle Modiselle, Mbuso Kgarebe, Bongani Skosana, S’Thandiwe Kgoroge, Lillian Dube, Loyanda Mfene, Mindo Sefafe, Anele Vilane, Tumelo Seleke, Wandile Molebatsi
Director: Scottness Smith

In South Africa’s first sbujwa dance movie, Muzi (Nyaniso Dzedze), the son of a celebrated pantsula dancer goes on a journey to learn the truth about his father’s death and come to terms with his own identity. Will Muzi embrace his destiny to become the man he is meant to be?